5 Ways on How To Remove Stripped Screws?【Guide】

how to remove stripped screws

It’s quite irritating when your work is delayed because of the stripped screw. How to remove stripped screws? Often this question hits your mind.

The answer is simple; there are different techniques by which you can remove the stripped screw. Some of these techniques require special tools; once you have them, it’s a matter of seconds to remove the screw, and you are back in form. But sometimes, when you don’t have the required tools to remove the screw, there are some techniques through which you can remove it, but it requires time.

There are different techniques to remove stripped screws still; there are chances that even if you perform all those tips, you will end up damaging the screw.

If you damage the screw, the solution to this problem can be replacing the screw with a new one. It also depends upon the material and how much you want to tighten the screw. All this is easy to say, then removing a stripped screw.

Today we will go through five different techniques to remove a stripped screw without causing any damage. We will also discuss tips regarding different material surfaces like metal, wood, plastic so that you can easily remove a stripped screw from them without causing any damage.

5 Techniques to Remove Stripped Screws

If the screw head is sticking out and it still gets damaged, you can easily remove this stripped screw using pliers or locking pliers. Pliers will extract the screw out, and the problem will be solved.

However, if the head of the screw is inside the surface or even below the wooden surface, you will have a hard time removing that screw, but it’s not impossible. Using the below-mentioned techniques, you can remove a stripped screw whose head is flushed against the surface.

1. Screw Extraction Pliers

All the other techniques mentioned in this guide will work for any condition. But this technique will work only when the head of the screw is slightly raised above the wood surface.

By using pliers, you can easily remove a stripped screw. As the head of the screw is slightly above the surface, pliers can easily hold the screw as it gets the grip and removes it out from the surface of the Wood or any other material. If the head of the screw is submerged inside the surface, it becomes challenging to use pliers as it does not have a good grip to remove a stripped screw.

In a situation like this, we have specific kinds of pliers called vampliers. They are handy to remove the stripped screws. Vampilers have sharp jaws that grip the head of the screw even if the tiniest space is available to grab. Remember, if the head of the screw is popping out of the surface and you wonder how to remove a stripped screw, Vampilers is the best solution.

Click to learn about Screw gun vs. Impact wrench.

2. Cutting a Slot in the screw

Moving towards the next method, cutting a slot in the screw is a classical technique; In this method, you cut the screw head and create a slot—the slot assists in removing the screw from the surface. The space you created by cutting the screw head will remove it by the “slotted screwdriver.”

Now the question is what tool you should use to remove a stripped screw. Well, it depends on two conditions:

  1. The size of the screw
  2. How much deep the screw is on the surface.

Or, in simple words, how far you managed to insert the screw in the material.

In case the head of the screw is raised even slightly above the surface, you can use a handsaw to remove the screw.

On the other hand, if the head is inside the material’s surface, a handsaw will not help you here. You need to cut the disc and need something for that mostly Dremel (small rotary tool) works, but if the screw is large in size, then the regular ones use an angle grinder. It will work well and help you remove the notch, and will solve the problem.

3. Using the Rubber Band Method

How to remove a stripped screw guide using a rubber method is a traditional technique. In the past, many people used this method. When pliers were not invented, people used to remove the screws by using a rubber band to extract them from a surface.  how to remove a stripped hex screw

It is simple; you take a rubber band and put it around the screw head. After that, you take a screwdriver and put it on the top of the screw. The rubber here is creating friction, and once we remove the screw, it will cover the space and act as a replacement material for the damage caused by the stripped screw.

This method sounds easy, but it requires a tremendous amount of patience and many rubber bands as it works well theoretically than practically. However, if you decide to go with this method, make sure you have many rubber bands to practice with them until one of them fits and helps you remove the stripped screw successfully.

4. Using a Damaged Screw Extractor

If you often face this problem and question how to remove the stripped screws without damaging the surface! You have also tried all the methods listed above but want something more effective; you should try getting a set of damaged screw extractors. how to get a stripped screw out of wood

Damaged Screw Extractors are tools like Alden Pro Grabit (a tool kit consisting of 4 pieces, normally use to fix damaged screws and broken bolts). It has two sides; on one side, it has a drill, and on the other side, an extractor. Mostly this tool has two sides, but sometimes it comes in two separate pieces too.

As its quite clear that if this tool has two parts, you will remove the stripped screw in two steps. First, you will use the drill side; the drill will create the hole in the screw’s head. Once the hole is made, you can use this hole as a new drive. Flip it towards the extractor side, and by using it, lose the screw and pull it out.

You must note that even if it seems quite simple, this two-step process is a little bit technical. During the drilling part, you must try to spin it in a counter-clockwise direction to tighten it further. However, this device is designed in a way to prevent further tightening.

5. Keeping the screw in the material

In this last method, you have to keep the screw inside the material’s surface, especially when it does not cause any harm.

When working with cars or other electronics, keeping the screw inside the material is not suggested. You have to remove it so that it doesn’t cause any damage. While working with the wood surface, the situation is different. Even if you leave the screw inside it or hammer it further down, it will not damage the wood surface. Probably leaving the screw inside the surface is best for wooden surfaces.

If you are comfortable with this solution, you can easily let it go without extraction. What you can do is try cutting the head of the screw along the surface so that the screw gets flushed within the surface. You can also try bending the head of the screw to make it flushed with the surface, or you can use the hammer to push it inside the surface of the Wood.

Out of all three solutions related to keeping the screw, the best is cutting the screw along the surface. But if you are working with Wood, the other two (bending the head of the screw and hammering the screw) works well as this one. 

These are the easiest technique, and you can choose the one suitable for your situation.

If you prefer fixing rather than removing, read this guide on how to fix a stripped screw

How to Remove Stripped Screws from Different Materials.

Till now, we have discussed different techniques for removing stripped screws in general. Now it’s time to learn how to remove stripped screws from different surfaces. More than one material in which stripped bolts, Philips screws, and stripped screws are used, like wood, metal, and plastic.

As discussed above, all those five techniques work well to remove screws from different surfaces. However, there are some pointers you must remember while working with the specific type of surface.

How to Remove the Stripped screw from Wood

While dealing with a wooden surface, it’s easy to manage a stripped screw; you can use any of the following methods mentioned below. In most situations, the screw is flushed inside the surface or deeply immersed into the wooden surface.

wood stripped screw

If you are one of those who work a lot with wood surfaces, you must have a screw extractor in your toolkit as a woodworker often comes across situations like these.

While extracting the screw, always fix it before replacing it with the new one. However, it’s best to put the new screw at some other place.

In case you decide to insert the screw at a new place, try using technique five, keeping the screw in the material, as mentioned above.

How to Remove the Stripped screw from the Plastic

If you are working with the plastic surface, always keep this in mind that you need to be gentle with it. Because plastic is soft, and if you apply force, it will damage the surface. In case of damage, you might not be able to use the hole created by the screw again.

While dealing with plastic surfaces, do not use hammering, angle grinders, and other tools as they are not good for plastic material.

Once you successfully remove the screw from the plastic surface, try putting it at a different place.

How to Remove the Stripped screw from Metal

Lastly, if you are working with a metal surface, you can use any of the above five techniques to successfully remove a stripped screw. Mostly when it comes to metal surfaces, you are dealing with electronics and cars.

stripped screw in metal

With whatever metal surfaced item you are dealing with, handle it with care. Otherwise, it will cause huge damages, and it will end up in a great loss. Don’t apply a lot of power and pressure, especially don’t ever think about cutting the notch of the screw, leaving the screw with the metal surface, or cutting the surface in which the screw is present.

Try less destructive methods that don’t involve hammering and leaving the screw within the metal. Removing the screw with proper tools and putting it in a new place will help you. Now you know how to remove the stripped screw without damaging any surface.


If you are one of those who work a lot with screws and came across this problem of removing a stripped screw from the particular surface, it is suggested that you must get a pair of screw extraction pliers and a damaged screw extractor.

These two tools will save a lot of your time and will increase your work efficiency. And make sure you are familiar with the proper use of a screwdriver and knows how to rotate it to loosen the stripped screw from the surface.

And in case you did not face this problem and came across this issue rarely. I will recommend that it will be better to use the rubber band method and regular pliers to remove the stripped screw’s damage. But it’s good to have screw extraction pliers and damaged screw extractors in your collection of tools as they save you a lot of time.

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